Vampire Weekend

Mixing preppy, well-read indie rock with joyful, Afro-pop-inspired melodies and rhythms, Vampire Weekend grew from one of the first bands to be championed by music bloggers into a Grammy Award-winning act that helped define the sound of the 2010s. Hailing from New York City, Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij, and Chris Tomson formed the band early in 2006, when they were finishing up their studies at Columbia University. Taking their name from a short film Koenig made during his freshman year, the band started out by playing gigs at the university's literary societies and at parties. Word spread about Vampire Weekend's unique sound and lyrics ("Oxford Comma," one of the band's earliest songs, referred to comma usage in a list of three items), buoyed by the band's self-released EPs, which they recorded in locations spanning from their Columbia dorm rooms to a family barn. The buzz around Vampire Weekend reached a peak in 2007: that summer, the band embarked on its biggest tour yet, made several appearances at that year's CMJ Music Marathon, and signed with XL Records that fall. The Mansard Roof EP was Vampire Weekend's debut release for the label, followed by their self-titled first album early in 2008. Debuting within the Top 20 of both the American and U.K. album charts, the eponymous record was one of the year's most popular indie releases.